Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No One Ever Told Me I Could

No one ever told me: You could be a novelist someday. No one ever told me I couldn't, either. The prospect never presented itself in my formative years.

What the hell are formative years? I'm still forming, and I understand less now than back then. I know more, but understand less.

Did anyone ever say to you: You'd make a good helicopter pilot. Which, truth out, happened to be one of my dreams. Helicopter pilot or coast guard.

No one ever told me I could be a helicopter pilot. I decided the academy sounded too rough for a girl.

It's rough for a girl who never considered writer to be a career choice. Not that I didn't have good, caring English teachers. I heard from one of them this week and thanked her for making an impression on me. All of them made an impression on me, but it wasn't the kind of impression that would lead me to consider writing as a career.

Writing for a living is hard, hard work. You must have discipline. You must love it. You must love it in a way that you get nothing more from it than the writing itself. The writing itself must be the end-all. Forget money. Forget fame. Forget fans. Forget recognition. Forget making minimum wage, because you won't make it wanting money and fame and recognition. Some writers earn those prizes. Some are marketing phenoms. Some make money writing books about how to successfully market books to those of us who never will.

Then, there are the writers who are so damn good, you read their books and fall in love with them. Their love of writing shines through laser-true.

Yes, I suppose I want people to fall in love with me. With my writing. That's all I want. Too much to ask?
If nothing else, I shall be awarded the Messy Desk Prize.

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